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Stories by Lara Hightower

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'Wonderful Life,' Wonderful Message

T2 creates radio play within a play

Subscriber only"Strange, isn't it?" says angel Clarence Odbody at a pivotal point of the 1946 classic movie "It's a Wonderful Life." "Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around, he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?" Continue reading...

East Coast Expertise

Joanna Bell joins team at TheatreSquared

Subscriber only"We were blown away by the interest, from here and across the country, in joining the T2 leadership team," says Martin Miller, executive director of TheatreSquared. "We had more than 70 candidates apply, many deeply experienced." Continue reading...

Beyond Buying

True spirit of Christmas found at Alternative Gift Market

Subscriber onlySt. Paul's Episcopal Church in Fayetteville has been hosting its Alternative Gift Market on the first Sunday of December for around 15 years now, says Melissa Swann, who has organized the event for nine years. Eventgoers have the opportunity to learn more about 60-plus local and international nonprofit organizations and make donations in honor of a loved one for Christmas. Continue reading...

Local star on the rise

Young theater buff makes own opportunities

Subscriber onlyColeman Ray Clark said he can't remember a time when theater wasn't a career goal. As a 5-year-old, the Northwest Arkansas native was creating original characters. Today, he's a junior at New York City's Marymount Manhattan College. Continue reading...

Jeff Koenig

Good head, better heart

Subscriber onlyJeffery Koenig is a tall man; he stands over 6 feet. His quiet, reserved and watchful demeanor prompts more than one friend to refer to him as a "gentle giant." Continue reading...

Living what he loves

Clarke Buehling puts heart, soul into music

Subscriber onlyTake a look at the photo on musician Clarke Buehling's website -- cleverly called "Buehling Banjos" -- and you'll see a distinguished photo of the man himself. Buehling stands with one of his beloved banjos and wears a suit, tie and handlebar mustache from the 19th century -- his favorite era of musical history. The look was not simply donned for the artifice of the photo -- it's pretty much how Buehling looks on any given Wednesday. The jacket might be traded for a vest and the stylized cravat for a bow or bolo tie, but Buehling perpetually -- and charmingly -- looks as though he just left the Vaudeville stage. Continue reading...

When Puppets Grow Up

‘Avenue Q’ considers universal themes in unique way

Subscriber only"Avenue Q," the 2004 Tony Award winner for Best Musical that opens at University Theatre this weekend, begins with a sunny song that introduces the audience to an urban block of row houses, populated by puppets and humans alike. Fans of classic episodes of a certain PBS educational series of the 1970s and 1980s will find the scene familiar. Or they will until Princeton, a puppet who is a recent college graduate, launches into "What Do You Do with a B.A. in English?" which, in turn, segues into "It Sucks to be Me," a song that features puppets and humans arguing about who is the biggest failure. Continue reading...

Staying Out Of Jail

Pop-up art show seeks to raise awareness

Subscriber onlyA one-day pop-up art show featuring local artists will be held from noon until midnight Saturday in downtown Springdale. The show, called "Women in Jail," is the brainchild of Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette news reporter Scarlet Sims, who wanted to bring community attention to a troubling trend in the Northwest Arkansas area. Continue reading...

APO Concert Combines Laughs, Classics

Subscriber onlyThe Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra's upcoming concert "Humor in Music" is a good chance to poke a little bit of good-natured fun at the usually serious genre of classical music, says APO Executive Director Jason Miller. Continue reading...

Thought-Provoking Twists

Drama collective mounts six new plays

Subscriber onlyAnn Hopkins, a founder of the Eureka Springs' Five and Dime Drama Collective, says the group is a synergetic relationship between writers and performers that originated with Eureka Springs' Writer's Colony at Dairy Hollow. Continue reading...

'Pedal Punk' Quite A Ride

Subscriber onlyAudiences attending Cirque Mechanics' production of "Pedal Punk," part of the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith's 37th Season of Entertainment, should brace themselves for quite the spectacle. The New York Times described the American circus troupe's performances as "exceptional, evocative, eye-catching and grossly entertaining ... in a word, excellent." Continue reading...

Lowell Grisham

Church leader leaves legacy

Subscriber onlyAs the Rev. Lowell Grisham sits in the back yard of his beautiful home in Fayetteville, Murphy and Lovie -- his family's tiny spitfire dogs -- mill about his feet. Grisham absent-mindedly strokes the head of Murphy as he talks about stepping down as the Rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, a job he has had for 20 years. Continue reading...

'Last Tape' an intimate experience

Subscriber onlyBlock St. Theatre Co's third production, Samuel Beckett's "Krapp's Last Tape," opens tonight at The Nines in Fayetteville. The one-person show will feature fan favorite Bill Rogers in the title role. Continue reading...

Connection Without Words

Potluck Arts brings circus arts, community together

Subscriber onlyPotluck Arts will move two steps closer to its goal of exposing Northwest Arkansas audiences to contemporary circus arts in November, when the company will present works by two critically acclaimed international performance troupes at the Arts Center of the Ozarks in Springdale. Continue reading...

CASA of Northwest Arkansas celebrates 20 years of supporting children

Subscriber onlyWhen CASA of Northwest Arkansas hosts its Light of Hope breakfast/luncheon on Nov. 9, it will be celebrating 20 years of service to the youth involved in cases of abuse or neglect in Washington, Benton, Carroll and Madison counties. Continue reading...